Is a Labrador the best breed for my family?

Are you ready for a dog?

Some questions to think about — there are no right or wrong answers.

  1. Why do I want a dog?
  2. What do I hope to do with a dog?
  3. How much time do I have for a dog?
  4. If I have other pets, what will they think of a new dog?
  5. What do other people in my household think of having a dog?
  6. Do I want an active, romping dog? Or do I want a quiet couch potato? Do I want one that is sweet or fiesty? Friendly or quiet?

Is a Labrador What You Want?
Labradors are in general big, friendly, active dogs. They like all kinds of physical activity, from taking long walks to
hunting, to any of a number of sports available for dogs, hiking, camping, etc. They are a strong sturdy dog, suitable
for many outdoor activities. Labradors are not protective. They are friendly, especially with people and are normally not aggressive toward other dogs. They do not make good guard dogs although they will generally bark at people arriving at your front door. They do need training, being large and friendly means that they will easily knock an adult over in an unrestrained greeting. Being the active sort means that they will need to have their minds occupied regularly and training will help with that. Being active dogs, they will require regular exercise. Retrieving, naturally, is a favored activity. Without this exercise, they are often destructive and too much of a handful for many people.

How Do I Find The Right Lab For Me?
If you’ve decided that a Labrador is the dog for you, think about what you want to do. If you are looking for a loving
pet, a male labrador might be a better bet than a female one. If you are looking for a dog that you can train and have all kinds of fun with, look for a dog that is responsive and alert. If you want a dog that is more quiet, consider an older (more than 6 years old) Labrador! However, in all honesty, the differences between the sexes (especially neutered) are minimal. The differences between the colors are even less than that between males and females. Being flexible on these points will help you locate a suitable dog much more quickly. Being flexible on age helps, too. The majority of dogs that are in rescue programs are adults over a year of age. Our own program seems to have dogs averaging about three or four years of age. If you are determined to get a puppy, locating a good breeder may be a better choice than trying to get a puppy through rescue. Don’t fall into the sympathy trap. Stop and tell yourself you will be spending an unknown number of years with the dog that you pick out. So take the time to meet the dog, interact with him or her and decide if this dog is appropriate for you. Don’t assume an older dog will not bond with you. Labradors are very people-oriented dogs, and they do not form exclusive bonds with one person as some breeds do. They form new friendships easily and move into your home and heart quickly. If the dog is untrained, do you have the patience, time, and resources to train her? If he is dog aggressive, are you able to deal with that? If she is chronically sick, will you be able to give her the daily medication? If he has bad habits, can you deal with them while you train them out of him? This is not to say you should look for only the perfect dog, since there is no such thing. But look for the dog with the characteristics you want and the problems that you feel capable of dealing with. If you are adopting from SCLRR, a representive will be talking with you to help you assess your potentials. If you are going through SCLRR’s referral program, you are welcome to talk with us about your questions.

Why Do People Give Up Dogs?

Realize that not everyone who gives up a dog is a mean or nasty person. Sometimes people just wind up with the wrong dog for them. That’s why we just went through talking about what you want in a dog and what Labradors generally have to offer. A mismatch between owner and dog can make both miserable. Sometimes people have to give up their dogs due to illness or advancing age. Sometimes the dog’s owner has died and the relatives are caring for it, but don’t really want a dog. Sometimes a change in lifestyle (divorce, etc) means that the owner no longer has the resources (time or money) for the dog. There are many reasons.

What Questions Should I Ask When Adopting?
Try to find out as much as you can about the dog’s background. Where did the owner get the dog from? What kinds of things have they done? Is the dog used to meeting people? Children? Other dogs? Has the dog ever bitten anyone? What does it think of cats, birds or other pets? Is the dog neutered? Do you have vet records on the dog I can see? How much are you asking for it? Can I donate that amount to rescue/shelter organizations? Do you have toys, leashes, anything that goes with the dog (even if you don’t need them, ask for them and give them to a rescue or shelter group). Are you willing to sign a transfer of ownership? Realize that the owner you talk with may or may not be particularly communicative. Some of them won’t say much more than “Take this dog or I take it to the pound.” Ask your questions anyway. Take the time to interact with the dog — don’t get too wrapped up in interacting with the owner — he isn’t the one you will be taking home!

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